Don't panic! There are a number of easy steps you can take to make sure your home is as ready as possible for high winds, heavy rain and the ravages of winter.

We have put together a checklist to help you:

1. Clear the gutters and drains

Clearing the gutters and drains is probably the last thing on your to-do list, but it’s an essential task with bad weather on the way.

Debris such as leaves and mud can block the gutters and once it becomes too much, it can cause leaks into the roof and walls.

Making sure the drains are clear from any possible build-up will minimise the risk of flood and water damage.

2. Make sure your roof is in good condition

Strong winds can dislodge tiles - seriously bad news for homeowners.

If a tile is blown off the roof, it can cause injury or damage to property, such as your or your neighbour's car.

And if rain can get in, serious damage can be done to the fabric of the building and your belongings.

If you can safely access your roof before the bad weather arrives, or you can get a good view of it from another vantage point, it's worth checking to see if there are loose tiles.

You might be able to effect some makeshift repairs from your loft, if you have one. Otherwise you should try to find a professional who can make some temporary repairs before addressing the matter properly when the storm passes.

It's also worth checking chimney pots and TV aerials, to make sure they're secure.

3. Check outbuildings and sheds

Sheds, conservatories, bike stores, summer houses and the like tend to be made of lightweight materials, and so are particularly vulnerable in a storm.

It's well worth checking to see there are no loose panels and no doors that are likely to blow open in the wind.

Have a look around the garden and move any objects that might be blown around, such as a bin or piece of garden furniture, as they could cause damage to your property or the property next door.

4. Sort out vegetation

If you have trees or shrubs within falling distance of your house, have a look to see if any are looking particularly vulnerable.

There are local authority rules about cutting down trees without permission, even in your own garden, but if you adjudge your property to be at risk, you could probably justify lopping off a broken branch that might come down in the storm.

As with work on your roof, it might be better to get a professional to undertake and heavy or hazardous work, rather than try to tackle it yourself.

And always talk to a neighbour before working on a tree that is growing on their property but which overhangs yours - or vice versa.

5. Protect your pipes

The best way to protect pipes during the cold weather is to use foam lagging, which will help to prevent them freezing and subsequently bursting.

You might also want to keep your heating on at a low level overnight or when you're away from home, so the water in the system doesn't freeze.

 

 

6. Make sure you’re on the best energy deal

It always pays to check whether you’re on the cheapest energy tariff – you could save more than you think.

MoneySuperMarket figures show customers could save up to £568* on their annual energy bill by switching, though the exact amount depends on where you live and your energy consumption.

So head over to our free comparison service to compare deals and find a suitable deal for your household.

7. Get covered

Making sure you’re covered for any winter-related damage is really important.

So check that your home insurance policy offers adequate protection and that you’d be covered in the event of fire, flood, subsidence and theft.

You may also need to look into accidental damage or storm damage as most home cover policies won’t include this as standard, so you may need to add it on.

*10% of customers could save up to £568. MoneySuperMarket average usage figures, 2016.

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Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.